Pokemon: New Colors
DescriptionCh 1, 2, and 3
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Chapter 3: High Hopes "My name is Ariana, and I plan on proving myself to the world. I'm going to beat the Elite Four and become the Champion. Of course, to do that I'll have to beat the eight gym leaders of Kanto...starting with you, Gary!" Gary Oak smiled cockily and looked at his feet, shaking his head slowly. My anger flared up inside of me so much I thought my eyes would melt from the heat...or maybe I was blushing. "I remember when I was like you," he said, looking up. His pose made me even angrier; he had a hand on his hip and bore his belt of Pokeballs for all to see. "Back when I started my journey, I wanted to be the best. Now I know that there is no best at Pokemon; there are too many types and moves to use. Kid...Ariana...you should leave now, train for a few months, and then come back." "I won't do that!" I shouted. "I'm going to beat you here and now!" He surveyed me with one judging eye. He shrugged, "Fine. Have it your way." I reached to my belt and slipped off the single occupied Pokeball. "Go, Bulbasaur!" I said, throwing the ball halfway across the room. It hit the floor and opened in mid bounce before returning to me, leaving a living shape on the floor. The seed Pokemon, Bulbasaur, resembled a frog with a large plant bulb on its back. Gary chuckled and shook his head again. "If that's all you have, then you're definitely going to lose." "Shut up and fight!" I shouted. He reached onto his visible belt and pulled a ball off. He tossed it out and let me marvel at the Pokemon. I quickly dug out my Pokedex and aimed at it. The Pokedex buzzed. "Pokemon not recognized. Update Pokedex." I gasped. "Is that a new Pokemon?" Gary laughed out loud, but he wasn't mocking me. "That's a regional Pokedex, I assume?" I nodded. "This is Umbreon, an evolution of Eevee. Only Eevee from Johto can become an Umbreon or an Espeon, which is why your Pokedex can't define it." I looked at the Umbreon. It stood on four legs and had a slender body. Long ears and a bushy tail extended from it. Except for a few yellow rings, it was jet black. The most intimidating part of it, however, was its crimson eyes. "Bulbasaur," I called, "tackle it!" Gary smirked from across the field. "Umbreon, use double team," He said calmly. Umbreon easily evaded Bulbasaur's lunging attack and began to prance around him with extreme speed. "Bulbasaur, use another tackle!" Bulbasaur first had to get his target in sight. He turned this way and that, only managing to catch fading glimpses of Umbreon's shadow. "Full speed, Umbreon!" Gary called out. Umbreon traveled faster than I believed humanly possible. He darted this way and that, turning at amazing angles. And while I was stunned watching him, so was Bulbasaur. Of course, I wasn't in the middle of it and didn't have to turn and spin endlessly. I saw then that Umbreon didn't need Gary's commands to win the battle. It closed in and started running in a small circle around Bulbasaur. Frightened, my Pokemon tried to back away, but there was nowhere to go. "Keep your eyes on him!" I shouted, like it was something easy to do. Bulbasaur tried, but something about him was...off, watching him. He began to waddle and turn slower. He was looking past Umbreon's shadow images, at me, with confused, dazed eyes that seemed to spin when he suddenly collapsed. "Enough, Umbreon." Gary hadn't moved from his spot, though he patted Umbreon with a smile as it came to his side. I ran to Bulbasaur and lifted him in my arms. He was heavy for such a small thing. "What was that?" I demanded. "Umbreon's fast. He didn't even have to touch your Bulbasaur to beat him," Gary explained. "Your Bulbasaur isn't strong or experienced enough to fight even one of my Pokemon and win. If you train more he'll become more powerful, learn better moves, and even evolve into a greater force...believe me, I know." His hand ran across Umbreon's jet black fur almost soothingly. I opened Bulbasaur's ball and felt his weight disappear from my chest. I didn't dare look Gary in the eyes. "What, I should just battle whatever Pokemon I find for the next year?" I couldn't keep the mocking, poisonous anger from mixing with my voice. "Well, no. You should learn to know your enemies, you know." Gary sounded stern, now. I saw the flash from where his Umbreon returned to its ball. "The Gym Leaders, me included, are instructed to never use our true strength in battles. I am supposed to be the last Leader that trainers fight before going to the Elite Four; not the first." I gathered the courage to look up at him. He had somehow closed the difference between us silently. I hadn't even heard a change in the volume of his voice. He held a gloved hand out to me. I took the leather and was lifted to my feet. "So who should I go to first?" He reached into his back pocket and produced a device similar to my Pokedex, but much more advanced. He pushed a few buttons and showed me the picture. On the screen a heavily tanned man smiled back at me. "This is Brock Harrison, Pewter City's Gym Leader. You can get to Pewter City by going straight north from here, Viridian City. To get there you'll have to pass through Viridian Forest, however. I suggest you train some there and capture a Pokemon or two." I studied the man's face. Brock Harrison. His eyes were hardly lines, and would have been near invisible if he didn't have any eyebrows. Still, he looked friendly enough. "Pewter City..." I repeated, looking at Gary. I noticed just how old he was, then. As a Trainer, anyway. He was smart and a friend to his Pokemon...just like how I wanted to be. I looked up, surprised. I had just remembered who Gary was. "You're Gary Oak!" He chuckled. "Yes, I am. Didn't you know that?" I felt my face burning again and some anger directed at myself. "I just remembered, though! You're Ash's rival! You and he grew up in Pallet, he lived just down the road from me!" He smiled. "We were rivals, once. If you're lucky you'll have your own...they're really fun to have. Now get out of here. You won't get anywhere standing around and talking." I backed out of the gym, leaving Gary there with a hand in his pocket, a smile on his face as he silently judged me. I wondered what he was thinking. As I closed the door I heard a muffled "Wait!" I opened the door again and peered in. Gary was jogging towards me. He loomed over me. "I have an idea. Wait here for just a moment." He ran off, into a room in the back of the Gym; his room, perhaps, since Gym Leaders often lived in their Gyms. He came back a minute later, carrying something in his arms. It was covered in a blanket. He handed it to me and pulled off the covering. It was a large egg. "This is a Pokemon egg," he explained. "I want you to have it. Keep it with you and it will hatch." "What's inside?" I asked. His eyes twinkled. "That's a surprise. Just keep it safe." I held the egg in front of my eyes. There were various natural markings on it in several colors; red, blue, and yellow, though the majority of it was white. "Well, thank you." I said politely, though I had no idea what to really think. He was giving me a Pokemon. "Think nothing of it. Now run off. You should probably go to the Pokemon Center and heal your Bulbasaur." I nodded and stepped back outside. I slid down a ledge to avoid having to walk around the side to the stairs and got lost in the small city. There were several dozen buildings, it was bigger than Pallet, and had nearly two hundred human inhabitants. The Pokemon Center was a large building somewhere near the center of the town, whereas the Gym was towards the east. I stepped through the automatic doors and looked around. The walls to either side were lined with booths and tables where a few sparse trainers were eating and quietly talking. Further on, behind a desk, a depressingly happy woman with pink hair (the same shade as mine) stood, surveying the building's inhabitants. I stepped up to the counter. "Um, I have a Pokemon that needs healing." The woman smiled sadly. "You must be a new Trainer." I nodded. "Well, I'm Nurse Joy." "I'm Ariana." Her smile pinched into her cheeks. "Nice to meet you, Ariana. Now, you do understand how Pokemon Centers work, right?" I looked around self consciously and rubbed the back of my head. "Not really," I admitted quietly. "Well, that's no problem. You just leave me your hurt Pokemon and I'll have them healed in no time...or after a while if it's serious. Of course, that's only when bad trainers show up." I looked at my feet, hoping I never had to bring in a dying Pokemon. I pulled Bulbasaur's ball off my belt and handed it to her without looking. I heard the ball click open. And Joy exclaimed "Oh, this is nothing. Your Bulbasaur's just a bit dizzy. I'll give him some headache medicine and a snack and he'll be fine in half an hour!" I looked at him. The plant Pokemon was rocking back and forth, his eyes swirling and mouth panting. I smiled. I had lost the battle, but had gained valuable information. And an egg. "Nurse Joy," I said, "can you tell me what's in this egg?" I put it on the counter. She examined it for half a moment. "It's impossible to say what's exactly in a Pokemon egg, but you can mostly tell the type. I think this one will be a normal type. But I am concerned about how you're carrying it." I looked at her, confused. "How am I supposed to carry it?" "Hold on..." she disappeared in the back room, taking Bulbasaur with her. She came back alone, though holding a strange device. "This is an incubator," she explained. She took the egg off the counter and placed it inside. It was a snug fit from what I could see. "Now you don't have to carry the egg in your arms. You can place this in your bag and you won't have to worry about it breaking or anything. It will even heat up the egg if the surroundings get too cold." "Thank you, Nurse Joy. The only problem is, I don't have money to pay for any of this..." She smiled and tilted her head. "Oh, no. Pokemon Centers are completely free of charge. We're built on the love of Pokemon. In return for our services, we've been treated to free energy and whatnot." I held the incubator. "Wow! That's nice of everybody!" She smiled. "Now, you look hungry. Go choose a table and I'll bring you some food while your Bulbasaur gets his medicine." I did, choosing a table on the left. I tossed my backpack on the seat and placed the incubator on the table. I sat down and stared absently out the window, seeing the world for the first time. I had only ever been out of Pallet twice, and never past Viridian. Now, in the rapidly fading afternoon sun, I could see that the world was big...huge. There hundreds if not thousands of Pokemon to discover. It was...daunting, to say the very least. Epic, amazing, a little frightening. And all I had was a single Pokemon and an egg. My friends were somewhere, a good day's walk away. And Zack...well, he wasn't a friend...but he was right there. I noticed him sitting at another table on the other side of the room, his face hidden behind his curtain of black hair. He was scribbling in an open journal, not paying any attention to the world around him. I stood, glanced around the room. Nobody else was paying special attention to anything other than their friends, food, or Pokemon. I quickly slipped across the room in what was a hurried walk. I cleared my throat rather loudly, hoping that I had not garnered attention from anybody else. I could feel imaginary stares on my back. Zack closed his journal with his pencil as a bookmark. "About time, Nur-" he stopped, looking up at me. "Oh, it's you." He sounded rather stunned. "Zack, are surprised to see me here?" He smirked and regarded me with gray eyes. "I'm surprised to see you in this city," he said. "I thought you of all people would be ten feet down Route 1, drowning in the stress." I glared down at him. "No, sorry to disappoint you, but I've been here for over an hour." I could see him shaking with repressed, mocking laughter. "I've been here for three," he said arrogantly. "Did you beat the Gym Leader?" I asked, knowing full well he couldn't have. He laughed out loud at that and shook his head, lightly spraying his hair in different directions. "Only an idiot beginner would challenge Gary!" He laughed again. "Anybody with a brain would know to get information about an enemy before challenging them, and anybody without a brain would know not to challenge Gary, of all people! I tried to hide my blush. Apparently I failed, for he went on to say "I bet you just went ahead and challenged him, didn't you?" He didn't need an answer. He barked laughter once more and my blush deepened. He looked ahead and touched a half-full mug lightly. "You probably don't even have two Pokemon yet." I was sure he had been joking, not even positive about that himself, but nonetheless, he was right. "How about you, then?" I asked, hoping against hope that he hadn't taken another Pokemon either. He looked up, taken aback. "Well, no," he admitted. "To be sure, I beat several and scanned some with my Pokedex; I had plenty chances to capture them, but I didn't. They were all pathetically weak." I couldn't deny him; they had been invariably weak, hardly able to land a hit on my Bulbasaur. We fell into a silence, remembering the small battles we had both won on our way here. I sat on the booth across from him so I could properly face him. "You know," I said, "traveling alone is...well, lonesome. Do you, perhaps, want to-" He cut me off sharply. "I don't travel with idiots or weaklings. It might be possible if you fix your problems." I pushed myself off the seat with my hands so I could bore down on him angrily. "I'm weak? I'm an idiot? I'll take you on as soon as my Bulbasaur gets finished healing! Then we'll see who the weak idiot is!" He brushed back his stark black hair back and met my stare eye for eye. "You've got yourself a battle. And even if you do have the type advantage, I'll win." He shoved his binder in his backpack and slid out of the booth. "I'll be at Battle Park, in the center of town," he said over his shoulder as the automatic doors slid open. I was still poised over the table when they closed. I slid into the seat pursing my lips angrily. Slower than I would have liked, the stares vanished and people resumed talking normally. Nurse Joy returned before the stares were completely gone, setting before me a tray of basic fruits. "Thank you," I said rather morosely, my back a little stiff. "It's no problem," she replied, smiling down at me sadly. She had turned to leave, when she said "You know, it doesn't really matter who the strongest trainer is. There are much more important things in life." She left without adding on, or waiting for a reply. I ate in a sullen silence, taking drinks from a mug of water that had been on the tray whenever I was thirsty. Just as I finished up, Nurse Joy rang a bell from the counter. I looked up, surprised and wondering what was going on. She motioned me over. "Your Bulbasaur is all better now. We gave him a check up and he's just fine. We also, of course, cleared up his confusion." I was surprised-and greatly relieved-that she did not ask how, exactly, Bulbasaur got his confusion. I would have felt an idiot all the more. "Thanks again, Nurse Joy." She smiled, her face pinched up prettily. "You're quite welcome. It's what we do. Now, do me a favor and try not to get into too much trouble." "I won't," I promised, taking the Pokeball she offered and clipping it to my belt. I felt the weight of her smile on my back as I left the large building. I paused to examine the map of Viridian City. Battle Park was just a few streets over, marked by a circular area designed to resemble a green Pokeball. In just a few minutes I was there. The sky had darkened, leaving it up to several stadium lights to pick up the half-moon's slack. It was a simple park, a few trees lining the far sides, but the center cleared for battles. The grass was freshly mown, and a cobblestone road ran through the center, becoming the center of the Pokeball design. A few people, all older than me, still fought ferociously. I found myself stopping, completely engrossed in their battles. I produced my Pokedex out of my pocket and pointed it at one lightly-lit Pokemon. "Sandshrew," the Pokedex piped, "the mouse Pokemon. A ground type that is well known for its prowess in defense. If threatened, most will burrow underground several feet in mere seconds. If unable to dig, it will likely curl in a ball or attempt escape. Evolves into Sandslash." I stared at the picture of it; a sand-colored creature that looked to have hard skin made up of blocks, leaving a design on it. It was absolutely adorable, though the one battling did not seem too keen on the idea of running away from its less-appealing opponent, who I also scanned. The picture on the Pokedex changed quickly and it began to spit out more words. "Mankey, the pig-monkey Pokemon. It is a fighting type that is among the most aggressive Pokemon known. Accompanied with the fact that it is easily irritated and rather short tempered, it is hard for any beginning Trainer to catch, and near impossible to train. It unfortunately evolves into Primeape, an even more aggressive and extremely stubborn Pokemon. Caution is advised with each." The Mankey was similar to a human, though it had a pig's nose and was covered in a dirty white fur. Oh, and it had a tail. The Sandshrew tucked itself into a ball as the Mankey came at it. It became a game of one-player soccer. "Hey," shouted someone behind me, "are we going to fight or what?" I looked at Zack. "We'll fight. Where do you want me to beat you?" He looked around, deciding. "How about I bury you over there?" he asked, pointing to a spot in the southwest corner. "Fine," I shrugged and walked over, leaving the stone path. I took place about fifteen yards away from him. "Ready?" I called. "Go!" He shouted, tossing out his Pokeball. Mine was seconds behind his. Two flashes of light momentarily lit the sky, not quite blinding us, before fading and leaving our Pokemon standing in the spots where they hit. My Pokeball, now empty, jumped back into my hand. Zack wasted no time in starting the battle. "Squirtle," he commanded, "use bubble!" The light blue turtle charged forward using speed it didn't look to own. Before I could tell it to, Bulbasaur instinctively jumped out of harm's way, trying to remain facing his opponent. "Bulbasaur," I started to say, but Squirtle's true attack hadn't even begun. It spun, leaping towards my Bulbasaur, and let out a stream of bubbles from its mouth. I have no idea how bubbles can hurt, but they did. Bulbasaur wrenched back from the majority, but the first few managed to pop on impact. Bulbasaur lurched and steam rose from his skin. "Bulbasaur, use tackle!" He lunged forward, to the side of the bubbles, and shoved Squirtle to the ground. Zack laughed. "A normal attack? That's the best you have?" I grimaced and prepared another move, but Zack's mouth moved faster. "Squirtle, use bubble again, at point blank range!" Squirtle, pinned to the ground, had no chance of missing Bulbasaur with a number of acidic bubbles. My Pokemon fell back, stumbling and trying to shake off the burning, wet spots. "Bulbasaur, leech seed!" Bulbasaur's bulb began to glow and spit out a pale seed. It came out strong and found Squirtle like a homing rocket. Upon landing, roots immediately sprouted and dug their way onto Squirtle's arm. It glowed white for a second, similar to Bulbasaur's bulb, and my Pokemon stood a little stronger, using the strength his seed was sapping from Squirtle. Bulbasaur's bulb and the seed on Squirtle took to their normal color again. Zack groaned and clenched his teeth. "Squirtle, tackle it!" Squirtle did, with Bulbasaur unable to dodge. "I thought you said tackle was a pathetic move!" I taunted. I felt Zack growl and noticed somebody had stopped to watch us battle. "Bulbasaur," I called, "use another leech seed!" Getting two would zap twice the strength from Squirtle, also healing my only Pokemon. "Squirtle, withdraw into your shell!" Zack cried. Squirtle did and the seed bounced off his brown shell uselessly. Still, Bulbasaur gave his own smile as energy crawled into him. "Now tackle!" Squirtle emerged from his shell and hit Bulbasaur. "Now, use bubble right on his face!" Squirtle took a breath and let out a large line of bubbles. The hissing came from both the crowd, which had doubled, and the large wet spots on Bulbasaur's head. "Bulbasaur, now that he's close, use leech seed!" Squirtle jumped back, but was too slow to avoid the seed that latched right across his nose. "Now tackle it!" Bulbasaur did, pinning the turtle to the ground. "Now rub your face on him!" It was a split decision, but it worked. The burning water on Bulbasaur's head was transferred, dealing back Squirtle's damage. Squirtle cried out, too late. "Get up!" Zack commanded, though it was obvious the turtle couldn't battle any more. It was, now, trying to simple get off its back. "Bulbasaur," I said, "to me." I petted my Pokemon with a rag, wiping off the bubble water. It still quietly hissed. Zack hadn't given up yet. "Hey, that's cheating! That means I win!" Apparently, the two people watching didn't think so. They laughed, in turn receiving a glare from Zack. "You did good, Bulbasaur," I said. "Keep this up and we'll hit the big time soon enough." My opponent ran across the field and shoved Squirtle off its back. "You lost!" he shouted. "No, Zack, you lost," I claimed. "Now, about you and I adventuring together: I don't think so." He glared at me, scowling and returned Squirtle to its Pokeball. "You got lucky, girl." I stood still, letting him run off the field and out of sight. Dark had completely fallen now and the park was closing for the night. "Return, Bulbasaur." The two onlookers met me on the path. It was the two people I had seen fighting earlier. "You did well," one congratulated. "Your first battle?" I nodded. "My first battle against a person. I'm a beginner, just come from Pallet earlier today." He grunted approvingly. "I saw your battle earlier," I said, "you had the Mankey, right?" He smiled. "You saw that? That was nothing; just a friendly battle. Stice here is trying to make his Sandshrew braver." Stice groaned and crossed his arms. "Sandshrew are dreadful cowards, but if you can get one to battle fearlessly its natural defensive mind makes it a powerful force." The other, larger man, laughed. "Don't listen to him. Mankey and Primeape are very strong, very fast, agile, and never give up until beaten into a pulp. If you manage to train a Mankey to listening and approve of you, it will annihilate anything in its path, living or not." I looked between them, thinking. It was just as Gary had said. There were many types of Pokemon and many ways to train them. "Well, maybe we'll meet again one day," I said, "and then I can prove you both wrong." I smiled and waved goodbye, listening to their laughter. Soon I was back at the PokeCenter, getting a lecture from Nurse Joy. "...oh, but what am I saying," she asked no one in particular, "you trainers always end up in trouble. Second time in two hours..." she nodded disapprovingly, taking Bulbasaur to be healed over night. I sat in one corner of the lobby waiting for a bed to be set up. On the far side of the room, Zack sat as well, glaring at me every chance he got. That was when I started writing in my own journal, detailing all the stuff I just went over. Here I am now, just finishing up before I turn in. Tomorrow, I enter Viridian Forest.